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  • Welcome, Summer Break

    2016 - 05.17

    I realize I have not updated this blog in ages, and I think that now that summer break is here, it’s high time that I do precisely that. This year so far has been a bit of a rollercoaster. In February, I resigned my position at the high school. I won’t go into details about that, though I will say that it’s been pretty nerve-wracking to try to find another job. Thankfully, I got hired on at Greenville. It’s a much smaller district, but I am very excited to start there in August. I will be teaching 5th and 6th grade, and I actually really enjoyed that particular age group when I student taught this age level at Twin Rivers.

    The move to a new school couldn’t have come at a more critical time, however, as my dad had a heart attack and had to have emergency bypass surgery about two weeks ago. It was very scary, and I thank God every day that Dad lived. He is doing okay, but it will be a long recovery for him. My parents live in Greenville, so I will be able to visit throughout the week and bring them things from town if they need it.

    Today, the awesome Rachel Stiber and I celebrated both my new position and the coming of summer break by going junk storing and antiquing. Out at JP’s Bargain Barn, I found two Reader’s Digest collector books to add to my collection. We also visited some consignment shops and I got a pair of gray dress slacks for $6.00. We also had a lunch at Arby’s and then visited a couple of flea markets out by my house. I’m eyeballing another retro metal cake carrier that’s in really good condition, and I think I may go back next week to pick it up. I’m also wanting to get my hands on a stockpot and roaster I spotted, though I am not entirely certain whether the roaster will fit into my small wall oven, even with the extra rack taken out. Next week, Rachel and I plan to meet at her house and work on a nail polish pendant project we found on Pintrest. I wonder whether I can talk her into some Game of Thrones since I don’t have HBO and have not seen the new episodes… Hmm….

    One of the things I love most about summer vacation is that when I’m home for break, I am more able to keep the house clean and laundry kept up. I also tend to have more time for baking and preparing more balanced, home-cooked meals rather than fixing something out of a box or eating out. I have some things I wish to accomplish this summer, the most paramount being getting the carpets professionally repaired and cleaned throughout the entire house. My other goals are to go through my books in the storage unit and label the reading lexile for my new classroom (and maybe actually see my new classroom, too!). I’d like to see my closet in the back bedroom get cleaned out, and I’d also like to get an oak or comparable headboard for the queen size bed in our house if I can find one at a reasonable cost in some consignment furniture shop or flea market.

    One of my other goals, however, is to get even farther in writing my novel! Right now I must return to my characters and re-read each chapter that was already composed. I have to revisit my notes to see how I originally plotted it. During the school year, I had absolutely no time to work on or even consider the plot of my novel. I am hoping the move to the new school and a lesser work load will afford me time to write during the school year as well. Rachel is certainly looking forward to getting underway with her own novel, and I am looking forward to reading the chapters. I missed our weekly little “author’s luncheons” over the summer where we just discussed our stories and brainstormed ideas.

    Over the school year, she did write a neat little short story, but I will let her share that sometime on her own website. I personally have an idea for a series of short stories that is done in a Canterbury Tales style, except that the plot revolves around residents of a forgotten cemetery. The cemetery of my mind’s eye is an existing cemetery near my parents’ house that has long been forgotten since the 1920s. I want to hike out there to revisit this place so that I can take pictures for the purpose of describing my setting, but the problem is that I will be destroyed by ticks if I visit during this time of year.

    That is pretty well it for this evening. Hopefully, I will get around to writing more often and possibly posting more works in progress as I ease back into my book.

    Goodbye 2015

    2016 - 01.02

    It’s been a while since I last updated, but I cannot believe just how quickly 2015 went by. My husband and I didn’t have any significant life changes. I’m still teaching high school English, and I hope to continue to do so next school year. But so far are some highlights of the year.

    January and February 2015 (Snowpocalypse)

    We kicked off the very first week of 2015 with a big snow storm that blanketed much of Southeast Missouri. I was still on Christmas break, and the heavy snows and icing actually ended up closing down school for another week! In all, we had a three-week Christmas break, which was perfect because I wasn’t ready to go back. We had additional snows through January and into February. As a teacher, I pray for snow days.

    Summer 2015

    School let out on May 15 for summer break. The break is always a welcome respite, but the beginning of my summer was eventful. An uncle of mine passed away just before Memorial Day. None of us could get to the funeral because my parents had non-refundable airline tickets to visit my brother and his family. While my parents were visiting them, my dad was airlifted to Salt Lake City after suffering such severe cramps in his legs that he had some kind of attack. I’m definitely a daddy’s girl, so it was pretty scary. Thankfully, he was okay once he was straightened out. In July, my uncle, Jeffrey, moved from Tacoma to live with my parents for medical reasons.

    After school was let out in May, I also started my novel! Writing an 18th century historical fiction/fantasy novel takes quite a bit of research, but I kept notes and saved most of my webpages to my history on my browser. On a weekly basis, I got to meet with by bestie, Rachel Stiber (author of Elise’s Choice), to roll ideas off her about the plot of my book. It’s so nice to have a sister that I can bounce ideas off of. She’s been a huge help with helping me. Of course, I did not get nearly as far in my novel as I wanted, I am hoping to put even more work into it this coming summer. The publishing part will likely be the most difficult. I think I will probably hire a professional editor to read my manuscript while I figure out how I will go about publishing and marketing my book.

    On a side note, my husband and I celebrated out 11th anniversary on June 19th. We didn’t do anything particularly special this year, but I am hoping next year, we can afford to go on one of those Amtrak train vacations out west.

    Fall 2015

    School began very early in August, so I had to halt work on my book since my teaching job takes precedence over pretty much everything else I do. This semester has been particularly rough because A. I have a rowdier group of freshmen this year and B. I graded five-paragraph essays and constructed responses on top of one another, which is an absolute nightmare for an ELA teacher. I didn’t get done with all of the essays and constructed responses until the first week of December (I had assigned the five-paragraph essay at the end of October and the constructed response around the beginning of November). Next year, I am hoping that will not happen again!

    With the addition of school starting, I lost a childhood friend of mine due to an unexpected heart attack. My friend was born with an enlarged heart, and she died from a heart attack at just 30 years old. I had only just reconnected with her, and I was hoping to go visit her next summer in Kentucky. She will be missed.

    In September, I had my 33rd birthday (God, I am getting old), and my husband and I decided that after aggressively saving for the past several years, we would come close to paying off our house! It was a big risk but we put almost everything we had on the principal of our home. Right now, we are so close to owning it free and clear.

    My brother was deployed overseas in October, so we did not get to see him for deer season. However, my 9th grade classes signed Veteran’s Day cards for his unit, and my Anime Club helped me put together Care Packages to send overseas. My brother received the packages just in time for Christmas, and the men and women of his unit were really happy to receive the boxes. The students drew pictures and even designed a banner for them where everything was hung up in their mess hall.

    Also in October, my 93-year-old aunt passed away. She was my grandmother’s sister and the last of my grandmother’s siblings to pass away. Her husband is still alive, and he will be 100 years old next year. He is in pretty good health and of sound mind. Plus, he has many friends and family who love and care about him. Although my aunt will be missed, she is in a much better place with God.

    December 2015

    I hate fall and winter because of the snow, cold weather, and the fact that it antagonizes my allergies, but I love Christmas. Unless my brother comes home for Christmas, my parents usually have dinner at my house. I cooked a nine-pound turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, green beans, corn, dinner rolls, salad, veggie platters, and meat and cheese platters. Mom brought three pies, pecan, apple, and pumpkin. After eating, we opened gifts. My husband got some goodies for me, including the Game of Thrones box set of books. I also got a Cricut cutting machine, which I can hardly wait to use in my new classroom next year.

    Even though I dislike winter, we were blessed with some unseasonably warm days for most of the month with temperatures staying up in the 50s. The week of Christmas, we had temperatures up to 70 degrees. With warm weather also comes storms. Much of our region was wracked with severe storms and tornadoes. One morning, we had a squall line of storms come through bringing 70 mph winds with it. Two days before Christmas, a tree blew down onto our house. It cracked a couple of rafters in the attic and split the soffit from the roofing on the side of the house. We had to pay money to get rid of the fallen tree, and we are still waiting on the insurance to give us a check before we can commence on repairs.

    Right after the storms, we had some severe rain drench us to the point of flooding. The Mississippi River is expected to reach a record crest, and the Meramec River closed down two interstates and several areas in and around St. Louis, including I-55.

    This month has also suffered a couple of human losses. A friend of mine and my husband’s passed away the day after Christmas, and a senior student at my school passed away after being taken off life support. Just days before Christmas, she was accidentally shot when a black powder gun went off in her home. Both were buried yesterday, and both will be dearly missed.

    All in all it’s been a good year. I am hoping 2016 will also be a good one. In 2016, I really hope to finish – or at least be close to finishing – my novel. I also hope that I will continue to work at my school (I don’t have tenure, yet, so I worry every year when rehire comes around). I am also hoping we will pay off our house in 2016 so we can finally start making some upgrades to the house. But most of all, I hope everyone else has a happy and prosperous New Year.


    Finally! A Post!

    2015 - 10.02

    It’s been forever since I posted, but I have been on a temporary hiatus since the beginning of the school year. The grading is what keeps me the busiest, and it seems every evening and weekend, I am covered up in grading. I’ve even put any and all writing on hiatus until things slow down a little. Believe me, it usually doesn’t until pretty well now. In the meantime, I am not only busy with grading, but Anime Club is putting together banners for our football Homecoming next Friday, so that has been eating up quite a bit of my time after school.

    Once things settle down, I have the following planned:

    1. Revise Rachel’s fourth chapter for her book.
    2. Review Charles’ notes on my first chapter and revise accordingly if I need to.
    3. Finish the chapter on which I am currently working.
    4. Resume my active RPs.
    5. Post more to my fan fictions.
    6. Post more to this blog.
    7. Stock up on hot chocolate.

    Until then, please stay tuned!